Date
28 July 2017
URA chairman Victor So (inset) had earlier said that only families will be allowed to buy subsidized homes at a Kai Tak project. The agency has, however, changed its stance now. Photos: HKEJ
URA chairman Victor So (inset) had earlier said that only families will be allowed to buy subsidized homes at a Kai Tak project. The agency has, however, changed its stance now. Photos: HKEJ

Questions raised as URA allows singles to buy subsidized flats

The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) has allowed singles to apply for subsidized flats in a housing project in Kai Tak, moving away from its original policy of offering such units only to families.

In a statement Tuesday, URA said both singles and multi-person households can buy subsidized flats in the De Novo project if they meet the eligibility requirements.

A spokesman told reporters that the decision was made in response to the housing needs of single people, Ming Pao Daily reported.

URA said in July that 338 of the 484 units in the De Novo project will be for subsidized sale.

At that time, the agency’s chairman Victor So Hing-woh said that only households with two people or more will be eligible to apply for the units.

But the plans have been reworked as a complaint was believed to have been filed with the Equal Opportunity Commission, charging that the URA was in violation of the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance.

Now under the new policy, both singles and families will be allowed to apply for subsidized homes in the project, which consists mainly of two-bedroom flats, in late December or early January.

Winners chosen from a lucky draw can expect to move into their new homes as soon as in the second quarter next year.

To qualify for the units, applicants must not have net assets exceeding HK$3 million (US$387,089) and monthly household income above HK$60,000.

Applicants also should not have owned any residential properties over the past five years.

It is believed that the URA, after evaluating market prices in November, will set the unit price of the 338 flats for direct sale at HK$11,000 per square foot, approximately 20 percent lower than the market price.

That will translate to the units bearing total price tags in the range of HK$3.65 million to HK$6.25 million.

Wu Chi-wai, a non-executive director at URA, said a single who earns HK$60,000 a month would belong to the high-income group, and therefore it is not proper on the part of the agency to allow such people to buy subsidized homes.

He suggested that the URA should tighten the income and asset limits for single applicants.

Wu added that he will ask the agency to call a contingency meeting to discuss the matter.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

TL/AC/RC 

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